To tip or not to tip? That is the question.
It feels like we’re inundated with the question of tipping at every service these days – even when it’s not a service where we would traditionally leave a gratuity. It happens constantly, whether you’re ordering from a restaurant without tableside service, grabbing coffee from a shop down the street, or ordering takeout. So, when is the right time to give 20%, 15%, or no tip at all?
In a new survey of over 1,000 Americans, we figured out who the best and worst tippers are by generation and which services get the biggest tips at the end of the day. Turns out, many people are giving more tips than they’d like to just because more businesses are asking.
America’s tipping habits in 2022
If one thing is clear: it’s that tipping etiquette varies a lot across the nation. Nearly 9 in 10 (86%) Americans consider themselves good tippers, and women specifically feel they tip well. 90% of women consider themselves good at tipping compared to 83% of men.
When it comes to generation, we found Baby Boomers are actually the top tippers with 95% saying they always tip. Gen X and Millennials are tied at 84%, and 74% of Gen Z tip consistently.
The most common place Americans give gratuity is at sit-down restaurants. Most Americans (83%) always tip at a sit-down restaurant, but when it comes to restaurants without tableside service, that drops drastically. Nearly half (49%) do not tip at places like Chipotle or Panera.
However, many Americans admit they’ve started tipping when they normally wouldn’t because of those iPad check-outs. More than 1 in 2 (51%) had given a few extra bucks when an iPad asked them to, and 54% feel pressured to tip when the employee turns the iPad away.
With many places short-staffed nowadays, it can be a gamble whether or not you’ll get good service. 68% base their tip on service while 32% tip no matter how good (or bad) of an experience they have. This varies by generation. Nearly 3 in 4 Gen Xers and Baby Boomers (72%) base their tip on customer service compared to 65% of Gen Z and Millennials.
In the end though, service is king, and when it’s done wrong, workers will see that reflected in the bill. More than 1 in 2 (53%) admitted they have actually not tipped before because of a bad experience.
Best and worst tipped workers
There are so many different places where Americans can give a gratuity, but workers in the food industry get some of the most tips. Nearly 100% of Americans tip at a restaurant with tableside service, and more than 3 in 4 (76%) give money to food delivery workers.
However, when it comes to places like coffee shops, only 39% of Americans leave a tip. About 1 in 3 (31%) throw in a few bucks when getting takeout from a restaurant, and only 1 in 4 (25%) give extra money while checking out a restaurant with no tableside service.
Aside from the food industry, the most common type of workers who receive tips are hair stylists or barbers (74%), rideshare drivers (54%), and taxi or shuttle drivers (47%). The least tipped workers are home service or repair workers (11%) and furniture delivery workers (23%).
How much are Americans tipping in 2022?
In 2022, Americans have been especially generous with their tips when they’re being social and dining out to eat. Nearly 90% have tipped 15% or higher. Of those, nearly 1 in 5 (17%) have given more than 20%! When it comes to food delivery, 1 in 4 consistently give 15% tips.
The least tipped places are restaurants with no tableside service. 61% of Americans admitted to giving no tip there, and 39% skipped the tip at a coffee shop. However, that varies when asked about the type of coffee shop where they got their drinks. While only about 1 in 3 (27%) Americans tip at big coffee chains like Starbucks, 49% tip at local coffee shops.
As for rideshare drivers, 1 in 10 Americans say they tip whatever the app recommends, most commonly giving a few bucks. There are many other workers that Americans could potentially tip too, including casino workers and travel tour guides.
What impacts how much you tip?
More Americans have been tipping since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. Since COVID-19 began, more than 1 in 4 have been tipping a higher dollar amount, and nearly 1 in 5 are tipping a wider range of services. Inflation has been cutting down on some tips though with 17% admitting they’ve started tipping less because of the economy.
However, it’s not just because of the pandemic that people are digging deeper into their pockets. 45% feel they’ve been tipping more these past few years just because businesses are asking during checkout.
Others say their tipping habits come from working in the service industry themselves. More than half (52%) surveyed had previously worked in the service industry, and of those, 37% said they tip more because of it.
Americans are also expected to be more generous this holiday season. Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) say they do tip more during the holidays than other times of the year.
Tipping is tricky. Many Americans have different views about how much you should tip and what is acceptable. More than 1 in 2 (54%) have been embarrassed because someone they were with left a small tip, and 30% have even called someone out for not tipping enough!
However, others who have financial difficulties struggled to give a full tip and have been ashamed because of it. 38% have been embarrassed because they couldn’t afford to give a big tip, and almost half (43%) haven’t used a service because of how much they’d have to pay when factoring in a tip.
While tipping is a huge part of America’s service industry, many believe it’s changing. 3 in 5 (60%) believe tipping etiquette has changed over the past three years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean for the better. 60% want to follow the steps of other countries and get rid of tipping entirely.
Tipping etiquette has certainly changed due to the pandemic and economic uncertainty – but it’s not going anywhere. Our best advice is to go with what you’re most comfortable with and can afford, because when it comes down to it, it’s your money.
In September 2022, we surveyed 1,006 Americans about their tipping habits. 184 were Gen Z (ages 18-25), 486 Millennials (ages 26-41), 232 Gen X (ages 42-57), 104 Baby Boomers (ages 58+). 49% were male, 49% female, 1% transgender, and less than 1% were nonbinary or preferred not to answer. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 93 with an average age of 38. 29% make less than $20,000, 21% make $20,000-$40,000, 19% make $40,001-$60,000, 12% make $60,001-$80,000, 8% make $80,001-$100,000, 11% make $100,001+. Of those surveyed, 51% have full-time jobs, 20% work part-time, 18% are unemployed, and 11% marked other (ie. student, stay-at-home parent, etc.).
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